Hello, 2021! At this point, we’re all thinking the same thing: let's make this year way better than last year. Battles have been fought, lessons have been learned. We’re here to pave a new way, a new mission — one that’s bent on making the world a safe place again.
And as always, we’ve put together a list of the best bartenders and mixologists who continue to create their paths of greatness in the world of mixology, particularly in the art and science of flair bartending. In case you missed it, here’s our December list and all the lists in 2020.
Be inspired and bring your mixology game to the next level! We’ve got a lot of featured cocktails and bartenders to follow on our IG account @advancedmixology. Sign up for our free VIP club and learn about our exclusive rebate program. It’s our way of saying thanks for being here.
1. Jose Manuel Antelo of the Barman Group
Starting off the World’s Best Mixologists roster of 2021 is Jose Manuel Antelo @antelojm of Spain, CEO of the International Barman Academy. It is the first online training platform for cocktail courses for the world of bartending, issuing certifications and Master's degrees, as well as being recognized by professional associations and prestigious distillate brands.
Jose Manuel is also the Brand Marketing Manager of TheBestBARS.club, an online guide for the best cocktails and bars in Madrid, Barcelona, London, New York, Paris, and Florence. And we’re not done yet! He is also the CEO of The Best Spirits, the first guide and spirits shop with a description and tasting in Spanish.
Jose Manuel Antelo is not only considered as an authority when it comes to mixology and bartending, he also has extensive experience in training, strategic communication, online marketing, and advertising.
You can follow Jose Manuel’s latest updates on mixology and beyond on his Facebook page.
2. Flair Project
Flair Project @flair_projectsb is a full-service beverage company offering a variety of bar services from catering private events to cocktail catering consulting. It is owned and founded by Ivo Peshev, a mixologist who was born and raised in Bulgaria.
In recent years, Ivo has built a reputation as one of the best flair bartenders in California after earning top honors in many competitions in and out of the state. Ivo’s team consists of trained and licensed bartenders hand-picked for their experience, skills, personality, and detail-orientation.
Some of the services they’re offering include professional business consulting and bar training, bar services events, and interactive bartending workshops for private parties, companies, and group events. Their wide range of skills and expertise include mixology, flair bartending, and private bartending.
3. Andrey Zhytniuk
Andrey Zhytniuk @andryuflair is a flair bartender from Bila Tserkva, a city in central Ukraine. He’s one-half of the flair tandem Flair Bro Show and a mixologist at bunkermuz.bc, a local resto-bar and events hub.
Aside from doing flair bartending shows and competitions in and out of Ukraine, Andrey’s focus in the past year has been on home bartending and dishing out recipes and expert tips via his social media page — Flair&mixology Ukraine. One of his recent content features his Espresso Winetini recipe.
His other signature cocktails include “The Gold Cocktail” (cognac, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice, and rosemary), the “Sunflower Sour” (bourbon, sunflower syrup, citrus acid, apple juice, and easy foam), and “Mint Knees” (dry gin, lemon fresh, honey syrup, triple sec and mint).
Follow his mixology page for a daily dose of his flair bartending and cocktail videos.
4. Alexander Shtifanov
Alexander has been in the bartending industry for 17 years, starting at a very young age in his native small town of Tuapse in the south of Russia. He first discovered the art of flair bartending in 2006 when he moved to the capital city, Moscow.
After his first international competition in Latvia in 2011, Alexander went on to compete in many more competitions around the world over the next several years, bagging top prizes at the Roadhouse World Finals and the WFA Grand Slam in 2015, among others. His most recent accolades: Las Vegas World Flair Championship 2019, The Big Match 2019 in Singapore, the RHWF Grand FInal 2019 in London, and the FlairManiaX 2020 in Riga.
Alexander also holds masterclasses in mixology and flair bartending. You can see more of his content and professional journey on his YouTube channel.
5. Rich Woods - The Cocktail Guy
UK’s Rich Woods, aka The Cocktail Guy @the_cocktailguy, is an award-winning bartender known for his unique creations and his original and pioneering approach to mixology, bridging the gap between food and drinks. He is the co-owner at Scout London, a world-class seasonal cocktail bar, and Weapons And Toys, a drink, design, and creative studio.
By around 2014, Rich was busy impressing critics, connoisseurs, and media alike with his bartending skills. Not too long after that, he bagged 1st place in the UK and Ireland Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition followed by 2nd place in the World Finals.
In 2015, Rich received the honor of being the first bartender to participate in the highly-renowned charity event 'Who’s Cooking Dinner'. He has also made several radio and TV appearances and was listed among the London Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 as one of the most influential people in the capital. He led team London to win the 24-Hour Bar Build competition in the same year.
In 2017, he published a book titled “The Cocktail Guy: Infusions, Distillations and Innovative Combinations”.
Rich’s signature style and state-of-the-art cocktails make him one of the world’s most sensational bartenders. During the height of the COVID pandemic, he started posting content on his YouTube channel.
6. Tom Dyer
Tom Dyer @tomdyerbartender is a household name in the world of bartending as arguably the most decorated flair bartender of all time. He’s been doing his stuff for almost two decades now, starting from being a barback to a bar owner, bartender, supervisor, manager, and now, bartending school board member.
Some of his best achievements include UK Flair Bartender Champion (won 12 times), Roadhouse World Flair Bartender Champion (won twice), and WFA Grand Slam World Flair Bartender Champion (won twice). He also bagged 1st place in over 85 other flair bartending competitions worldwide, including the Paris Flair Open, the International Flair League, the Gold Shake Cup in Korea, and the Ultimate Flair Championship in Japan.
Tom has made the natural transition from competing to judging in recent years, and he’s been invited to judge in almost every continent, including the Metro Flair in Belarus, the Bottle Tin is King in the UK, the Bar Fighters in Poland, the Skyy Global Championship in Shanghai and the Canada Restaurant Show Championship.
Tom is now an integral part of the European Bartending School Board of Education and has so far trained over 1,000 bartenders. His videos on his YouTube channel get thousands of views every day. He also maintains a website where he sells bartending merchandise and blogs about the world of mixology.
7. Akim Dagdzhyiev
Another popular figure in the world of flair bartending is Akim Dagdzhyiev @akimbaflair, a multi-champion and online masterclass guru. He is the owner of Akimba Flair, a 5-star online bartender school that offers extensive courses and training for aspiring bartenders. He currently has more than 800 students from all over the world.
Akim earned his prominence when he won a series of competitions in Ukraine from 2011 to 14. He gained even bigger notoriety when he bagged the top prize at the Roadhouse World Challenge 2015 in London and the Funk’n’flair Competition 2015 in Southport. From there, he went on to earn top honors at more than 100 international competitions.
8. Marek Posluszny
In flair bartending, there are not many competitions in which Marek Posluszny @marek_posluszny has not won in the 10+ years that he’s been in the industry. He’s a four-time World Champion flair bartender and co-owner of Flair Factory, a bartending agency that he set up with a fellow World Champion.
Marek won the gold medal in the international WFA Grand Slam in 2011 and 2017. He is also a two-time winner of the Bacardi World Flair Championship in Monte Carlo, WFA Skyy Global Challenge world champion of 2012, as well as the winner of the world's toughest roadhouse competition WFA World Finals in 2017. He is the only bartender in the world to win the title in both the IBA and WFA.
He owns Ten Bar Cocktails & Friends, a cocktail bar in his native city of Warsaw, Poland. Currently, his time in the bartending world is mostly divided into being a participant, organizer, judge, or commentator of competitions. For 8 years he has organized Flair Camp, a bartending camp in southern Spain where he invites bartenders from all over the world.
You can see Marek and his fellow mixologists in action on their cocktail bar’s Instagram account.
9. Olya Sabanina
Another flair bartender from Russia is Olya Sabanina @olyasabanina, a two-time Roadhouse World Tandem Champion (2018 and 2019), and mixology content creator. Olya is famous for her fun and wacky bartending videos which are mostly featured on her Instagram.
Recently, she’s been busy being the brand ambassador and mixologist for Firestarter Beverages, featuring cocktails that play around with vodka, gin, and rum.
When she’s not creating videos, she’s busy performing in shows and competing in different places around the world. She was named the Best Female Bartender at the Loolapaloosa Flair Championship World Final in 2019 and Best Female Bartender at the FlairFest in Krakow, Poland in the same year.
Watch Olya’s flair routine in action during the OlyBet Flair Mania event in Riga, Latvia.
10. Dario Di Carlantonio
Wrapping up our January list of the best mixologists is Dario Di Carlantonio @dariodicarlantonio. A bartender since 2002, he has worked in the most prestigious clubs in the capital city of Rome, Italy, such as the Emporio Cafè, the Singita Miracle Beach, and the Micca Club. His passion for mixing was combined with that for the flair, leading him to compete in hundreds of big-league competitions in Europe and around the world.
He also created his own Dario Di Carlantonio Throwing Strainer, a bartending tool where the handle shape is designed to provide a more comfortable and steady grip, letting the spring perfectly stick to the mixing tin or mixing glass. His unique design reduces the most common problems with conventional strainers and helps to perfect a bartender’s throwing flair technique.
In addition to competition and creating bartending tools, Dario is also busy with training new bartenders by collaborating with many Italian schools. Last year, he founded the DiCarlantonio Bartender School that teaches basic to advanced bartending courses and holds bartending workshops with other world-renowned mixologists.
Learn more about Dario’s Bartender School activities by visiting their Facebook page.
What an excellent start for 2021! These flair bartenders continue to rock the mixology world with their skills and talent, and as you can see, they’re also doing their part in passing on the knowledge and legacy to the future bartenders.
Do you know someone who deserves to be under the spotlight for our February list? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our marketing specialist will respond within 48 hours to send you details on how to join.